by Aysen Eren (Turkey, GESA 2011 alumna)
Uranium. This word has various meanings, some which run deep for me. I come from a nuclear free and radioactive clean country. Recently, however, government forces have been working to change the fate of my country. Not only is the government keen to build several nuclear power plants in Turkey, they also have ambitious plans to make Turkey the uranium processing center of the Middle East, therefore letting uranium-mining companies into the country. As a Turkish Anti-Nuclear Platform activist, I have been closely following national and global developments on this issue.
As a part of the GESA 2011 program, we were assigned an article titled “Blowing in the Wind: The Navajo Nation and Uranium” written by Jovanna J. Brown and Lori Lambert. As part of this assignment, we did a group exercise on Nation Building facilitated by Octaviana Trujillo based on this article. It let me grasp the dynamics and destructive realities of uranium mining in a more comprehensive way.
When I read the news piece in a national newspaper about uranium mining in Turkey, promoting the activity as a “lottery ticket” for Turkish villagers with its promise of jobs and money, I decided to write an article to submit to the newspaper. The article was on the potential effects of uranium on Turkish villagers, using an example of what the “Uranium Lottery” did to the people of Navajo. I hope, through this article, that my fellow countrymen become more aware of the potential detriments that uranium mining can have on Turkey.
I have been writing regularly for the Turkish newspaper, Cumhuriyet, on sustainability, environment and nature related issues for the past two years now. My published articles can be found at http://www.surdurulebilir-yasam.blogspot.com/.